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ISSUE 4 (26):

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By Irina V. Ovchinnikova, Ukraine

Photo 1.

Seven years ago I took interest in grafting cacti onto Peireskiopsis. Once I had an idea of grafting a seedling onto the place of an areole. First I grafted 8 seedlings onto a Peireskiopsis which I had laid to the soil. The lower areoles gave roots, and I grafted seedlings onto the upper ones. The grafts survived and developed so dynamically that surpassed their congeners grafted in a usual way.

I was not satisfied with horizontal grafts though they are very convenient – you should just put a cut seedling on the horizontal cut and that's it. As I lacked spare room which is typical for any big collection of cacti I wanted to have vertical grafts.

I chose 10 Peireskiopsis 20-25 cm high and grafted 20-30 seedlings on them. I usually leave leaves at the lower part of Peireskiopsis and 5-10 cm up. The rest of the stem is for grafts. The process demands much patience and skill. It is not difficult to graft 3-4 seedlings as they have enough cell sap which glues them to the stock and does not dry during the time of grafting. But when you graft 20-30 seedlings the upper ones dry out and fall off even if you place the Peireskiopsis under the cover with high humidity after grafting each of the seedlings. No fixtures work here. I just cut the leaves of Peireskiopsis along and dip the cut of the graft in the cell sap. The sap from the leave of Peireskiopsis is identical to the sap in its stem. That's why the graft is never rejected.

There are also difficulties in cutting areoles. It is not difficult to cut off a jutting out areole, it is more difficult to do it in the lower part of the stem. It merges with the stem, so I do a cutting as shown at the picture 1.

Photo 2.

After grafting I place the Peireskiopsis to a wet green-house. 4-7 days is enough for the graft and stock to grow together. Then I keep the plants as usual.

Peireskiopsis has such a drawback as growing into the graft. If you graft seedlings onto areoles it does not happen. Besides the "pushing" ability of an areole is so strong that even the seedlings with damaged growing point give offsets from each of their own areoles. Seedlings take rather well even at the lowest areoles though this place is usually so lignified that a usual graft should be excluded.

In two months the seedlings grow 1-1.2 cm high and become crowded. You may cut them off next nearest and leave the rest to grow up to 3-4 cm.

When you graft vertically you skip 2 pickings out of seedlings, save room and time. I grafted about 30 species of cacti and I never observed any rejection or incompatibility.

Material by V. Boxer, Angarsk.


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